Image courtesy of Ava Burkat
By Ava Burkat
The leaves are changing color at the Catholic University of America and the autumn wind has marked the beginning of a new season for the Class of 2024. This year has proven to be one full of unique challenges, and the start of the freshman class’s first fall at Catholic U has been no exception.
The unfortunate truth is that an increased number of students were found to have contracted the COVID-19 virus during the past month, sparking a new wave of caution and reminding everyone just how important it is to keep vigilant about our health at all times. Some freshman Learning Communities felt this most acutely when their classes returned to Zoom after initially being held in person. Students and administrators are optimistic that these students will be back in the classroom within the next two weeks, but the situation remains unclear.
“It’s certainly difficult to be one of the only LC’s online. I know it’s a precaution we need to take, but it’s hard,” said freshman Rebekah Rowe.
The effects of the virus are not only being felt in the classroom, but on the field as well. The girls’ field hockey team has had to adjust to a new practice regiment without the upperclassmen. Frequent testing for COVID-19 also became part of their weekly routine.
“We only had three weeks of practice time, but it was super fun! Though of course it was difficult to run in a mask,” said freshman Lauren D’Emilio.
Teammates are now able to bond with each other in the Pryzbyla Center at lunch, and testing procedures have been adjusted as well. Twenty-five percent of the team is randomly selected to report for testing each week.
Despite all of these challenges, Catholic U’s freshmen are showing an impressive effort to make the most of their time at the university. There are Friday Night Events every week hosted by Campus Ministry, which provide an opportunity for freshmen to bond with their classmates and meet their student ministers. Many freshmen have been taking advantage of these opportunities to come together, even when the circumstances are less than ideal.
The House Olympics received an exceptional turnout even though the evening was rainy and muddy. Freshmen enjoyed playing creative games as well as ones that required strength and agility. There was dodgeball and a relay race, and students bonded as teams wearing bandanas with the names of different countries.
“It was one of my favorite events so far,” said junior student minister Anna Smyth. “It was just like usual, because it was outside. It was a great way to meet people after quarantine!”
More events to come include a panel discussion with CUA faculty on the November election and how we as Catholics might live as faithful citizens, a live-action game of “Clue,” and the opportunity to make your own “Build-A-Bear”-style stuffed Cardinal. The community hopes that freshmen will continue to enjoy the events offered and make the most of the truly unique year they are experiencing.